Unplanned pregnancy or birth control -

I have gone back and forth in my own mind and had many conversations on this topic. So is putting a girl on birth control the answer to avoiding an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy? Or in all fairness, is a guy consistingly using condoms the answer? I have known a few guys in my life who actually were that responsible😉. I hear it’s a big sacrifice! To those guys I say, “Try going through 9 months of carrying a baby and then labor and delivery! There is the real sacrifice!”  And the guy responsibly wearing condoms says, “That is exactly what  I was trying to avoid!” Ok, ok...I totally get the desire to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. If that were the only risk to being sexually active, then maybe it would be a solution - but....not being a huge fan of the side effects and potential risks of long term hormonal birth control use, personally developing superficial blood clots in my leg while being on the pill myself —- it’s just not a clear easy answer for me.

But more to my real point, after years of teaching sexually transmitted diseases/infections, watching nasty pictures of genitals with infection and having students do my “chunks and floaties” demonstration —- I know —what is chunks and floaties? One of the best illustrations of body fluids being shared during unprotected vaginal sex you could ever see! Cheetos anyone? I cannot say putting a girl on birth control is THE answer. It’s a partial answer at best. And the real kick in the teeth here is: a girl goes on birth control, takes it as directed, weathers thru the side effects, avoids an unplanned/untimely pregnancy, but ends up with HPV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and isn’t able to get pregnant at a time when she is actually ready to. Or a guy gets repeated bacterial infections and ends up unable to father a child with a woman he would like to make babies with.

I stole this next statement from a poster somewhere. Almost every teen who has heard it said it was pretty much true. SEX HAS THE POWER TO CREATE LIFE, CHANGE LIFE AND END LIFE. Guess birth control can’t be the total solution here. Until next time.......

Abortion - living with the choice

What all do I remember? Without getting too graphic; I remember who, what, when, where, why , how and the nurse who held my hand the whole time. I remember the girl from my high school who was there, too. I remember grabbing my abdomen during the procedure and trying to do what? Stop it from being emptied? I thought my insides were being sucked out. It was all over fairly quickly - and I remember clearly thinking, "If I had known what was going to actually take place during the abortion, I would have never gone through with it.  Ever." And I would never do it again no matter what and I may never have sex again, if that's what comes of it. So.....there you have it. And 40 years later, I understand why I did it, but wish with all my heart I hadn't. 

Where did it all go wrong? In truth that wasn't the first bad decision I had made. There was a whole slew of bad decisions that led to that point over a few years. Was dating a bad decision? Not at all. Dating without a plan in place- a plan to limit physical intimacy until i was ready for the impact--physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually. Who even knew that all those things would be affected by just having sex and in such a powerful way? Not me. And not, I don't think do many, many of the sexually active teens and young adults today----until it does. 

 

Abortion - living with the secret

So the question is, now what am I going to do? Facing an unplanned pregnancy is a life changing experience. You look at all 3 options - if you actually take the time to do so- and truly believe life is over no matter what. Self preservation kicks into overdrive and the only "good" option - meaning I can pretend my life is back to normal - is abortion. Nobody needs to know I was pregnant, nobody needs to know I am having sex, and day to day life goes on without any earth shattering changes...or so I thought. And I was so relieved when the procedure was over. So glad not to be pregnant anymore. I could go through the rest of my whole life and not tell anyone about the abortion because it was just a blip on the screen. Finish college, get a job, get married and have kids later - much later - but not now. Trouble is it didn't work out that way and I am talking about an experience that happened 40 years ago! Why is it still pretty crystal clear in my brain? Why do I still consider that decision to be one of the most selfish, shameful and unthinkable things I could have ever done? Why did it take me 20 years to even admit that maybe I needed help in dealing with that choice? By that point, 20 years ago, I was some kind of messed up. Did that show on the outside? No way. I was a master at covering up and filtering/deflecting conversations or comments that might unveil my well kept secret, but inside, in my heart and mind, I hurt with a pain that there are no words for. And still today, now- my throat constricts and I could weep.....

Situations we get ourselves in.....

There are many reasons women choose abortion. According to Guttmacher, 48% of women who chose abortion said a factor for them was that " she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems." While a pregnant woman who knows her partner will support her and the baby is far more likely to choose to carry the pregnancy to term. " There are fewer concerns about finances and childcare in these situations. 

Many of the conversations I have with women uncertain about the future of their pregnancy go more like this:

"I am not sure who the father is. It could be one of two guys or more."

"We are not together anymore."

"My boyfriend is going to be so angry if I am pregnant. He will want me to get an abortion."

Yes, I am old - 60. But bottom line truth to basic reproduction says vaginal sex by definition is meant to cause a pregnancy! A couple is engaging in unprotected sex - and there is surprise or anger over the reality of a pregnancy? Or the guy walks away? Or she decides she doesn't want him to be the father of this baby? Doesn't it seem a little late in the game for this? You know, if the couple in question is young teens or mid-teens then ok. But college age, young adults, 20 somethings? Adult behavior has adult consequences - responsible decision making - self control - talking about sex before you actually have sex? You know here is a truth I have taught for many years and I will end for today with it:

it is easier to take your clothes off than it is to talk about taking your clothes off. But if you can't talk about having sex, you are for sure NOT READY. Hundreds of millions of sperm released in a normal ejaculation - worth a conversation maybe?

Unplanned pregnancy - choosing abortion

The question is, so now what? After personal experience and working in a pregnancy center for 20 plus years, this question is often answered in a short amount of time based on emotion and very little factual information. The driving emotion is fear and whatever a pregnant girl/woman can do to alleviate the fear - quickly - is the answer. Most often, if a person gets an abortion the decision is made quickly and the procedure is completed in 7-10 days - two weeks tops. From my perspective, however, what a girl does is undergo an  actual surgical procedure just to be done being pregnant. She walks into a clinic with very little if any knowledge of what will happen while she is there. Are there risks? What is the procedure? Will  the abortion hurt? Did I think abortion was wrong until I personally got pregnant?  At this point I need to add this is where pro-life people get way too judgemental. It is super easy to take a stand against abortion and those who have had one - if you yourself have never faced an unplanned pregnancy. In many ways I feel the church especially actually can drive a girl to an abortion because of the fear of a judgemental response from those in her church. But that is a topic for another day.

Having an abortion is a life changing experience.  You walk into a clinic one person and walk out another. Something happens mentally/emotionally, physically and spiritually that changes you. Sydna Massé wrote in her book, "A woman doesn't want an abortion like she wants an ice cream cone. A woman wants an abortion like an animal whose leg is caught in a trap - and proceeds to gnaw off its leg to get free." That isn't a direct quote, but you get the idea. 

Unplanned pregnancy - options

Where do I begin? By saying I understand both sides of an unplanned pregnancy situation? By saying there is no easy way out of an unplanned pregnancy? This is such a complicated situation. Most girls who are sexually active and not using a reliable method of birth control, worry about the possibility of being pregnant ALL the time - until they have a period. Then they Take a deep breath - get a few days reprieve from the worry and start the same cycle all over again. It's exhausting. The problem is one day she will in all likelihood miss a period and have to face the fact that it is time to take a pregnancy test. Right here is the time when I encourage all girls to include the guy in this process. Take him with you to purchase the test. Have him with you while the test is running - guys should get to experience the fear, anxiety - the "oh, crap!" What am I going to do feelings that go with this situation. Then the test is positive. Most girls then take multiple tests to see if it is REALLY positive . This is the part of the situation that is life changing. There is NO way to go back in your mind and pretend you never faced a positive pregnancy test. It isn't possible. So now what?